While you can order almost everything on Amazon nowadays, you can’t personally hand-pick your fruits and veggies and other grocery items online. So, grocery shopping at the store is still a necessary weekly trip. However, we all know how hard grocery shopping can be. You forget your list, you’re starving, you’re in a hurry and, suddenly, you’ve spent $100 on a bunch of junk. Well, we researched a few proven tips and tricks for a successful trip to the supermarket.
Tip #1: DON’T SHOP HUNGRY
Always, grocery shop on a full stomach. According to a University College London study, hormones released when you are hungry can influence your rational thinking and may be what makes you make poor food choices on an empty stomach. Eating a good, healthy snack before heading to the store will help you feel full and prime your subconscious to make healthier choices.
Tip #2: SLOW DOWN
Try not to do your grocery shopping in a hurry. If you feel rushed, you’ll make rushed decisions that will most likely not be very healthy. Give yourself plenty of time to go to the store and really think about your decisions.
A pushcart and fresh vegetables sold at a grocery storeTip #3: PUSH A CART
According to a study in the Journal of Marketing Research, carrying a basket led shoppers to reach more for impulse items and skip reading labels in order to get in and out quicker. The study stated, “The odds of purchasing vice products at the cashier for a basket shopper is 6.84 times the odds of purchasing vices for a cart shopper, all other things being equal.” Pushing a cart may help your decision making, without the strain of carrying a heavy basket.
Tip #4: MAKE A LIST
How often do you get home from the store and realize you didn’t even get what you went for? Making yourself a detailed shopping list, and sticking to it, will prevent you from making multiple trips to the store, save you money, and probably help you make healthier decisions. Studies from the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that there is a definite link between those who make grocery lists and healthy choices and lower body weights. Researchers found that dietary quality was significantly higher among shoppers that made lists. There is definitely power in advanced planning. Make yourself a list, and only stick to the list.
A man choosing among fresh fruits at a grocery storeTip #5: SHOP THE PERIMETER
The center of the grocery store houses all the highest calorie, prepackaged foods and snacks. Try to steer clear as much as possible to avoid impulse purchases. Work your way around the edge of the store to grab your produce, dairy and meats.
Woman checking the nutrition content of an item at the grocery storeTip #6: READ THE LABELS
Remind yourself what you’re really getting by reading the nutrition labels. Once you read about those extra few hundred calories, you’ll be less likely to justify an unhealthy purchase.
Tip #7: SHOP ONLINE
That’s right; most grocery stores now have online shopping options. You can place your order and swing by the store to pick it up, or have it delivered. This is a great way to stick to your list and make healthy choices without giving into in-store advertising ploys or falling victim to impulse purchases at the check-out.
Bram Van den Bergh, Julien Schmitt, Luk Warlop. “Embodied Myopia.” The Journal of Marketing Research (2011).
Tamara Dubowitz, Deborah A. Cohen, Christina Y. Huang, Robin A. Beckman, Rebecca L. Collins. “Using a Grocery List Is Associated With a Healthier Diet and Lower BMI Among Very High-Risk Adults.” Journal of Nutrition and Behavior (2015).
“Your Supermarket Survival Guide.” Eat This, Not That! (2015): 24-27.